tweedle-dee, tweedledum, tweedleho

September 23rd, 2016

I.  Russia’s parliamentary election brings out a resounding land-slide victory for the ruling “United Russia” Party of Vladimir Putin.

In terms of seats in Parliament, United Russia leapt to 343 from 238, a gain of 105 seats and an absolute majority. The other parties in Parliament, which rarely challenge Mr. Putin, all shrank. The Communist Party lost 50 seats, to 42 from 92; the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party was down 17 seats, to 39 from 56; and A Just Russia had 41 seats disappear, to 23 from 64.

As per wikipedia, here’s the old parliament.  And the New Parliament.




As you can see… the Blue “Putin Party” has increased in size total, and the other “merely supporting Putin” Parties have dropped in size total.

Curious editorializing, though.

After Mr Putin’s first term in office, which ended in 2004, the Duma ceased to be a democratic forum; it merely rubber-stamped the Kremlin’s edicts. But its standing—and that of United Russia—was sustained to an extent by high oil prices and a growing economy. At least the Duma could not be ignored, as it provided a rare means of access to the Kremlin, which distributed the oil rent. With the sharp fall in oil revenues, the economy in recession and real incomes dropping, this is no longer the case. Social scientists note that the urban middle class—the most economically active part of the country—has no real representation; United Russia is just a vehicle for the Kremlin to exert power.  By shutting out the opposition and marginalising even the tame Duma, the Kremlin is pushing Russian politics into unchartered and potentially dangerous territory. Mr Putin’s latest victory turns the Duma into more of a sham. As a result, he risks becoming detached. In the view of Gleb Pavlovsky, a political analyst and former adviser to Mr Putin, Russia’s leaders are like pilots flying in heavy turbulence with the cockpit dials all painted over.

Uncharted?  I’m thinking of a series of 1952 Pogos from cartoonist Walt Kelly, the heavy-handed political satire bringing in a Soviet Bear… talking up the Soviet election system of the leaders winning with 99.7 percent (or some such figure) of the vote.

II.  It’s interesting to see how the deposed left-wing leader in Brazil — who, either was the victim of a “soft coup” sanctioned by the United States or was simply offed off of popular uprising against corruption– left office with a historically low approval rating… to be replaced by an equally unpopular and loathsome right-wing leader.

But we see they’ve all had their ups and downs

Imagine, for a moment, Trump or Clinton win.  And in two years, by some convoluted process that’s technically legal and by-passes norms of electoral processes we arrive at an unpopular Clinton or Trump replacing an unpopular Trump or Clinton.
Maybe an impeached Vice President Pence or Kaine and the naming of Trump or Clinton as Speaker of the House (who, it should be noted, does not have to be a member of the House).

III.  Funny ad in the New York Times.  Turkey pulled out an ad extolling its democracy, and positing it as partners in stuff and things with the USA.  Sure… sure… and it’s surely complicated, but… NEXT!


September 21st, 2016

Meet the Democrat who is running for Senate.  Misty Snow.  She would be the first transgendered woman in the Senate.  And is not a politician.  And would represent Utah.  And it is a little puzzling why anyone would pay to poll this race, but there it is.

Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidate is a Bernie Sanders backer socialist.

Alaska’s race is weird — the Republican incumbent won six years ago in a write-in generation election campaign appealing to Democrats against the tea party insurgent who beat her in the primary election and is now running as a Libertarian where the Democratic candidate is a former Republican at odds with the state party and so the party is reaching to the Democratic senator who lost two years ago to wage a write-in for little or no purpose, given that the Republican incumbent will win easily.

John Boozman of Arkansas can’t be bothered to debate.  The two minor party candidates (Democrat and Libertarian) try their best to put on a show.

Every Republican needs to run against Obama-care, declares the Weekly Standard.  It’ll win them everything!!!

snippets of the damnable election race

September 21st, 2016

He came in 10th in 2012, and he is running again.  Or so says his facebook page.

Trump Jr. gets in trouble due to a Skittles photo.  Herein is an attempt to put the problem of Trump kids into a political contextConan O’brien gets it a little better, though it veers into the arena of right wing politics Trump has strayed from.

George Herbert Walker Bush just voted for Hillary Clinton.  Kathleen Kennedy Townsend tweeted the news, than… er… untweeted?  The bottom half of the Internet reacts in a fury.

A key point about the Trump response

“I think what is most disturbing about this report to me, Erin, is that someone divulged a private conversation — it doesn’t seem like it was meant for public consumption. And that’s always very bothersome to me.” — Private conversations are different than Democratic emails hacked by Russians and leaked online.

Yeah, well… at least this tweet has been vetted a bit. Unlike the one about Bill Weld dropping out of the race — wishful wistful thinking.


this is just gratuitous

September 17th, 2016

A gratuitous linking to an episode of Get A Life, which somehow or other buffers this libertarian argument against food inspectors.

As with most things, Chris Elliott’s path-breaking early ’90s Fox sitcom, Get A Life! got there decades ago, in an episode in which becomes a food inspector and quickly goes on the take.

Yes.  The show demonstrates a definite political viewpoint.  Corruption! Five bucks!  An investigator hiding in the shadows named Jim Gorman who, if you need him, signal him by standing on your lawn with a small dog strapped to his head singing Mr. Bo Jingles in a high voice… which, from a libertarian point of view would indeed be a sign of big gummint shenanigans.

It’s a reach, that’s all I’m saying.

Dip into the comments section for some arguable comments.

What amazes me is that there was even a single Network Exec who thought the laugh track did anything except assassinate that show. You know how much better that is without the insipid canned laughter?

Dunno.  The laugh-track is an overdone concoction, spot-lighting the artificiality of the show’s universe, keeping a viewer within the sitcom conventions.  I don’t know if it works better without this laugh-track — it’s just that it has a premise in being in this show.  I know that option is there on dvd, but apparently this mostly gets you a chance to hear producers shouting directions and laughing just off the set.

have you thanked Donald Trump yet?

September 17th, 2016

Shouldn’t everyone thank Donald Trump for … ending the Barack Obama birther controversy… which was started by Hillary Clinton?

I suppose the thing about the “Big Lie” is it forces one to forage and figure out what “germ” of truth there is in the thing.  It is a fact that Hillary Clinton said mean things about Barack Obama in the 2008 primary season.  It is a fact that the fringe of Hillary Clinton supporters, who coalesced into the “PUMA Movement”, dug into weird things about Barack Obama after Hillary Clinton was out of the running.  (And the beat goes on — The Boomerang booms, oh ye Sanderistas.)

So now, going to sources we know will want to trumpet anything they can reach for, we’re stuck at a lone figure in Hillary Clinton’s orbit who was quickly dismissed.  And was not “started” there, but plucked it out from the ether that had been growling.

And anyway, having had no effect on the growth of this conspiracy theory, it doesn’t really matter when the whole basis of Trump’s 2012 flirtation for President was this issue.  But now we get the hurraying from Trump’s strange cheer-leading section — and…

Meantime, the obvious sarcasm which flees from such sources as the New York Times in a front-page News Analysis is … really something.  And something Trump’s Base of Support will glom onto as how the MSM are ‘gainst em.

Interesting to note the problems with Snopes — This is a pretty unprovable and non-disprovable claim.

You know.  Jimmy Fallon gave a nice issue-less softball interview to Trump this week.  Both why Stephen Colbert comes up a niche programming against the broad strokes of Fallon, and why you can feed an apolitical audience to vote apolitically for entertainment’s sake.  The Game Continues, devolves from Jay Leno with Schwarzenegger — which to be fair was not entirely issue-less.
The follow-up fluffer for Hillary Clinton lands on much the same wacky hi-jinks.  No.  Not much for Jimmy Fallon…

It is interesting that an earlier Hillary Clinton’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel had Kimmel doing a “man-splaining” bit — which shows a probably preference on his part for Hillary Clinton and is playing up his “Man Show” / “Frat Boy” shadow — it’s like him wanting to educate the base of his audience to prep them on subtle sexist attitudes they may harbor on Hillary Clinton.

third party temptations

September 16th, 2016

Jill Stein works to shed her “anti-vacciner” problem. No, she isn’t so homeopathic.  She just wants the homeopathic vote.

And, I suppose she would not have been assassinating Osama Bin Laden.  The latter would be a defensible position  — ideologically situated on “you can’t bomb away an ideology”, if not for the specific alternative she has here — “into custody”.   The repercussions of raiding Osama Bin Laden’s hidey hole and then putting him on trial.

Gary Johnson’s blanking on Allepo reveals the problem of Libertarianism, and the isolationist stance around the world.  In his defense, no one in Allepo ever heard of Gary Johnson either, and I suppose there’s a decent chance most Americans are stumped, and only have the vaguest idea beyond “Syria.  Troubles”.  And maybe they shouldn’t have anything beyond that… because beyond accepting refugees —
So says Bill Mahrer, on the troubles of voting for Johnson…

But, let’s be honest.  When casting your lot in with the third parties, some details will be left… not important.

I see the New York Times has an editorial published, back with the old “Vote Swap”game  — you Nader supporter in a swing state?  Get someone in a non-swing state to vote your guy so you can vote for their guy, Gore .  Eh.  A game suggested back in 2000 with Nader / Gore, except back then the Nader voters had a definite goal: to 5 percent, and a thing in common with the Gore voters:  Gore is still preferable to Bush.  This time around, the Trump problem is certain for both Johnson and Stein, but there may not be enough Jill Stein supporters and the Johnson supporters are less compatible to seeing Hillary as a lesser evil.
Unless they do, in which case they’d be voting Hillary anyways.

Gamely selling Johnson as someone who you should not vote for if you trend to Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.  The current embarggalo with Clinton’s polling down-turn has a group of millennials entertaining third parties (Don’t remember the repercussions of Nader with Gore versus Bush, after all; and are passionate to shake the system) — and a group of Suburban Women shirking back to the Republican Party because Trump’s new advisors (probably Kellyway Conway as opposed to Steve Bannon) have finally gotten him to quit acting like a buffoon, and somehow the past can be washed away sometimes.

The third party candidate that’s likely going to come in third in the third party race — Evan McMullin (for anti-Trump Republicans who care about the repercussions of Johnson’s Allepo flub) — is not on the ballot in Florida, meaning — I suppose Clintonistas can’t swap their vote for McMullin’s — though… they can swap their vote for the Prohibition Party candidate for all this is getting us.  Rick Scott and the two party duopoly putting a stop to such madness where they can…


the election from hell

September 13th, 2016

Yeah, It’s kind of the only way you can write up this story…  this first sentence, the second half of it.

Donald Trump said Friday that Hillary Clinton could “shoot somebody” in public and avoid prosecution — echoing a phrase he once used to describe his electoral invulnerability.

And didn’t we already hear this one?  Sure, Matt Bevin loves them violent Thomas Jefferson metaphors.

Oh, this election is exasperating.  It’s maybe a case of understanding the fault-lines in the electorate as being bombarded just a few more years from where we were in 2012, and of Trump being just that much more egregious than what I found with Romney, (and for that matter, Hillary Clinton as compared to Barack Obama) but…

… even as I sat through the 2012 campaign’s ups and downs and understood the dynamics as ultimately landing on Obama beating Romney by… oh, 3 percentage points…

and even as I sit here and understand Hillary Clinton as ultimately beating Donald Trump viewing much the same rubrics —

this is all more apprehensive.  Like — Hillary Clinton is on the path to winning, and is surely as on the path to winning as her Democratic Presidential predecessors, but … but… but…

Like, I don’t understand the logic of this here “anyone who would vote on this health issue with Hillary Clinton getting pneumonia is already with Trump” editorial.  In national elections, we’re always dealing with margins — some small splinter breaking off in one way or the other, or a depressed turn-out one way or the other, in one part of the country or other.  Most Hillary Clinton supporters/voters, if presented with irrefutable proof that a fact that the Absolute Worst is True — that Hillary Clinton will die in two years and everyone in the inner sanctum knows it and we can look forward to the forty-sixth presidency name of Tim Kaine — will vote for that… and, if this was shown to be the case throughout the electorate, it will probably cost Clinton / Kaine the election.
And we’re dealing with “narratives” — the health issue lands as a proxy for some other thing (secrecy, age), or … or…

On The “Basket Full of Deplorables“, my issue with Hillary Clinton is that she placed a percentage on it.  50 percent?  The narrative she has explored with the alt right surrounds a variety of figures, most prominent and importantly a now advisor to Donald Trump and moving on down there to your David Duke and your 9/11 Truth conspiracy theorists… who, whatever the deplorables are, and whoever the 50 percent of the Trump electorate is… aren’t they.  Whether or not this is “speaking the truth”, as some are saying — political correctness be damned (ha!) — this is an election where people are casting votes they feel most comfortable doing…

But then maybe there’s a narrative Hillary Clinton is working on that one.